27th January 2002 Niigata City
The Fifth Plenary Meeting of the Northeast Asia Economic Conference Organizing Committee (hereafter referred to as the Organizing Committee) was held on 27th January 2002. In addition to all 20 committee members, including those attending as proxies for members, various observers and guest speakers attended the meeting, taking the total attendance to about 50. Participation for the first time by representatives of the government of the ROK deserves special mention. Participation on the part of the ROK has been an issue since the establishment of the Organizing Committee, but with representatives of the private sector taking part in the Fourth Plenary Meeting and government representatives participating this time, that problem has been solved and a great leap forward in terms of the cohesion of the Organizing Committee has been achieved.
As the meeting was being held at the same time as the Northeast Asia Economic Conference (hereafter referred to as the Economic Conference), few themes were dealt with at the Organizing Committee itself. In addition to a report from the Transportation Subcommittee about the Northeast Asian transportation corridors, the main topics were the drawing up of a draft resolution for this year’s Economic Conference and deciding upon the plan of action for the next fiscal year and the basic policy for the next Economic Conference. It was decided to hold the next Northeast Asia Economic Conference in Niigata in May or June 2003. The aims of holding the conference will continue to be the dissemination of information, policy proposals and the provision of opportunities for business exchange. It was decided that, in future, the individual themes that should be raised should be decided after taking into account the opinions of each committee member. The procedure will be to decide upon a plan for the conference, including the themes to be taken up and their scope, at the Sixth Plenary Meeting of the Organizing Committee, which is scheduled to be held in Changchun, Jilin Province, in September 2002; after this, concrete preparations will be made.
Mr. Long Yongtu, Vice Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, asserted that the Chinese government was prepared to support the promotion of economic cooperation in the Northeast Asian region.
1. Professor Hisao Kanamori, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of ERINA and Chairman of the Organizing Committee, praised the Transportation Subcommittee’s work in putting together the Vision for the Northeast Asian Transportation Corridors. Moreover, he welcomed the increase in the number of Organizing Committee members, guests of honor, observers and other participants as a sign that the Organizing Committee’s activities were spreading and becoming a major international cooperative process.
2. Governor Ikuo Hirayama expressed his awareness of the fact that, even though the momentum for forming the Northeast Asian Economic Bloc was increasing, there were still a variety of problems and multilateral economic cooperation was not developing as expected. Furthermore, he requested active participation in the Economic Conference and cooperation in translating the content of discussions at the Economic Conference into reality.
3. Mr. Hideo Kayahara, Chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee, explained the Vision for the Northeast Asian Transportation Corridors. This vision, which constitutes the results of 18 months of research and survey activities undertaken by the Subcommittee, was created with the aim of making possible the free and effective movement of people and goods, which is the basic condition for the development of the Northeast Asian region. It identifies nine transportation corridors as Northeast Asia’s main international transportation routes on which development efforts should be focused. Furthermore, it lists the projects that should be prioritized in each corridor.
4. The Conference Declaration, Review of Proposals Made at the Previous Conference and Proposals Made at the Conference were decided upon. The Declaration was proposed under the name of the Organizing Committee and adopted during the Concluding Session on 29th January. The other two documents were read out at the same session.
5. It was decided to hold the Sixth Plenary Meeting of the Organizing Committee in Changchun, Jilin Province, and to decide the plan for holding the 2003 Northeast Asia Economic Conference in Niigata during that meeting. The following proposals were made and opinions expressed with regard to the projects on which the members will cooperate with each other in 2002.
6. Mr. Li Jieche, Vice-Governor of Jilin Province, welcomed the holding of the next Organizing Committee meeting in Changchun. In addition, he introduced many international events that are scheduled to be held, including business and trade talks on Tumen River area, which will take place in September. He requested active participation by representatives from each country in the Northeast Asia International Exchange Center construction project, which is being planned in Changchun.
7. Mr. Yoshinobu Yonekawa, Program Coordinator at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, outlined a workshop on social development, planned to be held in Beijing on 27 – 29 March. Through case studies, and with the participation of experts from China, Russia, Mongolia, the ROK, the DPRK and Japan, it is planned to deepen discussions about what specific measures and actions are necessary in fields relating to social development, such as overcoming poverty. In connection with this, Dr. Lai Shanglong, Advisor to the China Society for Promoting the Guangcai Program, asserted the society’s intention to cooperate actively with this workshop.
8. Dr. Cho Lee-Jay, Chairman of the Northeast Asia Economic Forum, reported on the holding of the Northeast Asia Economic Forum Electricity Summit in Toyama, in November 2001. At the 11th Northeast Asia Economic Forum, to be held on 6-8 March 2002 in Anchorage, three sessions will take place, covering the themes of natural gas, the use of environmentally friendly energy and IT.
9. Mr. Sukhbataar Batbold, Mongolia’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, told the meeting about an investment forum to be held in Ulanbaatar on 17-19 September. This is intended to introduce the Mongolian investment environment and investment projects to foreign investors, and Mr. Batbold called for the participation of many interested parties.
10. Dr. Ippei Yamazawa, President of the Institute of Developing Economies, pointed out the importance of taking the long-term view and attracting interest in Northeast Asia on the part of APEC. Given that the ROK will host APEC in 2005, and that Russia may host in the not-so-distant future, it is necessary to make various preparations for such a time.
11. Mr. Atsuyoshi Iwasaki, President of the Japan-China Northeast Development Association, introduced plans to hold the Third Japan-China Economic Cooperation Conference in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, on 28 – 29 May. The main themes are 1) agriculture and forestry; 2) trade and investment; 3) transportation and tourism; and 4) regional cooperation. Moreover, he reported that an international subcommittee has been established within the association, which allows China’s regional governments and businesses to join the association as international members. It is hoped that this will contribute to the formation of a partnership between Japanese and Chinese companies, with a practical project base.
12. Mr. Zhao Xinliang, Vice-Governor of Liaoning Province, told the gathering about the 8th General Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Tourism Association, to be held on 10-13 July, and about plans to hold the International Mechanical Equipment Manufacturers’ Exposition from 30th August until 5th September in Shenyang, and called for the participation of many interested parties.
13. Mr. Fu Xiaoguang, Assistant Governor of Heilongjiang Province, informed the gathering of the International Business Talks to be held in Beijing in March. The annual Harbin International Trade and Investment Business Talks will be held for the 13th time in June. He mentioned that he would welcome the participation of those present at the Plenary Meeting, as there would be various high investment efficiency projects on the table.
14. Mr. Sergei Vasiliev, Counselor at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Japan, spoke of plans to hold the APEC Investment Mart in Vladivostok in September, and expressed his hope of gaining the support of various countries, including Japan, with regard to Russia hosting APEC at some stage in the future.
15. Mr. Long Yongtu, Vice Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation stated that there are a variety of difficult conditions in the region and that efforts aimed at regional economic cooperation have as yet borne few results. He observed that these efforts are important, however, and that, with solid support from the central governments of each country being indispensable, China was ready to provide this support. He expressed his hope that other countries would also provide such support.
(Summarized by the Secretariat)